Former cycling star Greg LeMond has reached a $39.5 million settlement with the owners of an exclusive retreat for the super rich that has its own ski resort and uses ex-Secret Service agents for security.
Wednesday's settlement resolves a two-year legal dispute in which LeMond, his in-laws and an associate accused businessman Tim Blixseth of trying to buy out their minority stake in the Yellowstone Club for less than its true value.
A related settlement between Blixseth and his estranged wife, Edra Blixseth, in their divorce case also resolves a bitter struggle over control of the enterprise.
Edra Blixseth, now the club's majority owner and chief executive, agreed to pay the three-time Tour de France champion and his co-plaintiffs after Tim Blixseth ended his bid to retain majority ownership.
Although their divorce is not yet final, Tim and Edra Blixseth already have traded assets related to the settlement, said Edra Blixseth spokesman Bill Keegan.
"She in fact has a new management team in place and lots of ambitious plans," Keegan said Friday. "It's a new chapter in her life and she's anxious to put her stamp on the club."
Tim and Edra Blixseth opened the millionaires-only club in 1999 on 13,400 acres in southwestern Montana's Gallatin Mountains.
Building lots within the gated community have sold for millions of dollars, and homes for as much as $20 million. Microsoft's Bill Gates and former Vice President Dan Quayle are among its members.
The club ran into financial trouble in recent years when the real estate market turned south. Its problems grew after Tim Blixseth diverted tens of millions of dollars to a separate venture that attempted to take the club concept global.
A Minneapolis attorney for LeMond said the cycling star will maintain his residence at the club.
"None of my clients ever wished anyone ill," said the attorney, Bruce Manning. "They have merely wanted to be paid what they were owed, and for the club to be on the financial footing it is now on."
In a recent e-mail to club members, Tim Blixseth said he had sold his stake in the Montana club to "stop the distractions" caused by the couple's divorce proceedings.